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D.A. won't charge Tournament of Roses official in cold-case murder

February 10, 2012 | 11:19 am

Richard Allan Munnecke and Donna Lee Kelly

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office on Friday declined to file murder charges against a longtime Tournament of Roses official, citing insufficient evidence.

The move comes two days after Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives arrested Richard Allan Munnecke in the cold-case slaying of a woman in 2004.

Munnecke was described as a model citizen. He devoted several decades to the Tournament of Roses, rising through the ranks until he was one of its top directors. It was through his work at the Tournament of Roses that he met Donna Lee Kelly, a Buick saleswoman who was also a longtime volunteer for the annual parade effort.

In 2004, Kelly, 59, was found dead, stuffed in the trunk of her car. Munnecke was questioned at the time but the case went cold.

Sheriff's Department investigators collected DNA evidence from Kelly's body, apartment and car, but found no matches in federal and state DNA databases, and the investigation languished for lack of evidence.

Nearly eight years passed before detectives Elizabeth Smith and Richard Lopez took another look at the case. Using funds from a DNA grant, they were able to test genetic material obtained from Munnecke. Authorities allege that evidence links him to Kelly's slaying.

They declined to provide more details about their case or discuss a motive.

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--Victoria Kim

Photo: Richard Allan Munnecke, left, and Donna Lee Kelly. Credit: L.A. County Sheriff's Department

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